Root NationArticlesWeaponsWeapons of Ukrainian victory: Storm Shadow / SCALP-EG cruise missiles

Weapons of Ukrainian victory: Storm Shadow / SCALP-EG cruise missiles


It has become known that the UK has provided Ukraine with Storm Shadow / SCALP-EG cruise missiles. This will allow our Armed Forces to deliver powerful long-range strikes.

The need to provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with long-range missiles has been discussed for quite some time, but our Western partners have been unable to reach an agreement for a long time. And finally, the first swallow of such a delivery programme arrived today. The Ukrainian Armed Forces received the first batch of Storm Shadow / SCALP-EG cruise missiles with a range of 250-560 km. This will enable our defenders to hit enemy targets at long range to destroy strongholds, ammunition bases and airfields where enemy aircraft are based.

Storm Shadow

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What is interesting about Storm Shadow / SCALP-EG

It is a British-French air-launched cruise missile manufactured by MBDA. Storm Shadow is the British name for the weapon, while in the French army it is called SCALP EG (Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée – Emploi Général), which means a long-range general-purpose cruise missile).

These cruise missiles are designed to engage fixed or moving targets with high accuracy. They are capable of operating in all weather conditions and can be launched from a variety of aircraft, including the Tornado, Rafale and Typhoon.

The Storm Shadow / SCALP EG is powered by a turbojet engine and has a range of up to 560 km, but its export versions have a limited range of up to 250 km. They are equipped with various guidance systems, including inertial navigation, terrain tracking sensors and radar. The missiles can carry various warheads, such as conventional explosives, cluster munitions and nuclear warheads.

Storm Shadow / SCALP EG has been used in combat by the armed forces of the United Kingdom and France. These missiles were used during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the war in Libya in 2011 and the operation in Syria in 2015.

The missiles have been praised for their accuracy and effectiveness. They are credited with destroying a number of important targets, including command centres, air defence systems and military bases.

Storm Shadow

However, the missiles have also been criticised for their cost. Each missile costs around £1 million. Despite the cost, the UK and France consider the Storm Shadow/SCALP EG to be valuable assets. These missiles provide an accurate long-range strike, which is very important in modern warfare.

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Development programme

The Storm Shadow is an Anglo-French long-range stealthy air-launched cruise missile developed in 1994 by Matra and British Aerospace and now produced by the leading European missile systems manufacturer MBDA. The development of the Storm Shadow / SCALP EG was driven by a number of factors, such as the growing sophistication of enemy air defences and the need for a more flexible and responsive strike capability. The missiles are compatible with a wide range of modern aircraft.

Storm Shadow

In 1997, the UK Ministry of Defence awarded MBDA Systems a €1.13 billion contract to develop and produce the Storm Shadow long-range missile. The programme had to meet the requirements for conventionally armed missiles (CASOM) for the Royal Air Force.

In December 1997, the French General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) awarded a contract to MBDA Systems for the development and production of the missiles. The French version, known as SCALP, is designed for the Mirage 2000D and Rafale aircraft.

In October 1999, Italy placed an order for Storm Shadow weapons to be deployed on the Italian Air Force’s Tornado aircraft. In the same year, the UAE signed a contract with MBDA System for Storm Shadow missiles for its Mirage 2000-9 fleet.

Storm Shadow

In August 2000, the Greek government signed a contract to equip Mirage 2000-5 Mk2 fighters of the Greek Air Force with Storm Shadow missiles. In December 2003, Greece placed another order for additional missiles of this type.

The Storm Shadow was first successfully launched from an RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft during an operation in Iraq in 2003. The SCALP missile entered service with the French Air Force in 2004 and was first used by France in March 2011 during an international military operation in Libya.

Storm Shadow

In February 2017, MBDA began modernising the Storm Shadow / SCALP EG cruise missile for the UK and French ministries of defence. In December 2020, the Indian Air Force (IAF) asked MBDA to calibrate the software of the Rafale fighter jet’s SCALP missile. This update allows the missile to engage targets up to 4000 metres above sea level.

And now these state-of-the-art cruise missiles have entered service with the Ukrainian Air Force.

Features and functionality of Storm Shadow / SCALP EG

The Storm Shadow / SCALP EG cruise missiles are highly effective weapons systems, with a number of features that make them effective in combat, in particular:

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  • Long range: Storm Shadow / SCALP EG has a range of up to 560 km, enabling it to hit targets deep inside enemy territory.
  • Precise targeting: Storm Shadow / SCALP EG is equipped with various guidance systems, including inertial navigation, terrain tracking and radar. This allows them to engage targets with high accuracy.
  • Low radar visibility: Storm Shadow / SCALP EG is designed to operate stealthily, making it difficult for enemy air defences to detect it.
  • Payload flexibility: these cruise missiles can carry a variety of warheads, including conventional explosives, cluster munitions and nuclear warheads. This gives them the ability to hit a wide range of targets.

Storm ShadowThe Storm Shadow / SCALP EG is a long-range, air-launched, “fire and forget” cruise missile. This means that it can be launched and then not tracked, as it will move to its target autonomously. The missile is equipped with a variety of guidance systems, including GPS, inertial navigation and the TERPROM system, which allow it to fly low and avoid detection by enemy air defences.

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Design of the Storm Shadow / SCALP EG cruise missile

The Storm Shadow / SCALP EG is a highly advanced and versatile missile that can be used to engage a variety of targets, including enemy air defences, command and control centres, military installations and even bunkers.

Storm Shadow

The long-range air-launched cruise missile itself consists of the following components:

  • Cylindrical body made of composite materials
  • A pair of wings that provide lift and control
  • A tail unit that provides stability
  • Propulsion system, which consists of a turbojet engine and a direct-flow jet engine
  • Navigation system including GPS, inertial system and TERPROM, terminal stage – infrared homing head, DSMAС
  • A warhead that can be either conventional or nuclear.

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The Storm Shadow warhead is a conventional warhead that can be either high-explosive or explosive. It is a powerful weapon that can be used to destroy a variety of targets, including armoured or underground targets.

The BROACH multi-stage warhead is a key component of the missile’s overall effectiveness. The warhead enables the destruction of a variety of targets with high accuracy. The warhead is resistant to obstacles and various fortifications, making it a very effective weapon.

Storm Shadow

Let’s take a closer look at the BROACH multi-stage warhead. It was developed by a consortium of BAE Systems Global Combat Systems Munitions, Thales Missile Electronics and QinetiQ. BROACH stands for Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented Charge. Development of BROACH began in 1991, when the BROACH team consisted of British Aerospace RO Defence, Thomson-Thorn Missile Electronics and DERA. The two-stage warhead consists of an initial shaped charge that cuts a hole through armour, concrete, ground, etc., allowing the larger subsequent warhead to penetrate the target.

Storm Shadow

This system allows the cruise missile to achieve a degree of penetration and damage that was previously possible only with laser-guided gravity bombs.

The BROACH warhead consists of two main parts:

  • A high explosive is a blast device that uses a focused explosion to penetrate armour or concrete
  • A penetrator is a conventional explosive that is designed to detonate inside a target after penetration by a high explosive

The BROACH warhead is used in various weapons systems, including the Storm Shadow cruise missile.

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SCALP EG power plant

The Storm Shadow / SCALP EG propulsion system consists of a turbojet and a straight-through air-jet engine. The turbojet engine provides the initial acceleration of the rocket, while the straight-through engine is used for long-range flight.

A turbojet engine is a type of jet engine that uses a compressor to compress air, which is then mixed with fuel and ignited. The combustion of the fuel-air mixture creates thrust, which pushes the rocket forward.

Storm Shadow

A direct-flow jet engine is a type of jet engine that does not have a compressor. Instead, the air is compressed as the rocket moves forward. The compressed air is then mixed with fuel and ignited to create thrust.

The Storm Shadow propulsion system is a highly efficient system that allows the rocket to fly long distances at high speeds. The system is designed to be resistant to interference, making it a very effective weapon.

Here is some additional information about the Storm Shadow powerplant:

  • Turbomeca Microturbo TRI 60-30 turbojet engine. It produces a thrust of 5.4 kN
  • SEPR-844 direct-flow jet engine with a thrust of 10 kN

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Which aircraft are capable of launching Storm Shadow

The SCALP EG cruise missile can be launched from a variety of aircraft, including:

  • Dassault Rafale
  • Eurofighter Typhoon
  • Panavia Tornado
  • Dassault Mirage 2000
  • AMX International AMX
  • BAE Hawk

The missile has also been tested on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, but it is not yet clear whether the F-35 will be allowed to carry this missile.

Eurofighter Typhoon

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Technical characteristics of SCALP-EG / Storm Shadow missiles

  • Weight: 1 300 kg
  • Length: 5.1 m
  • Diameter: 0,48 м
  • Wingspan: 3 м
  • Warhead: 450 kg BROACH
  • Engine: Turbomeca Microturbo TRI 60-30 turbojet, 5.4 kN thrust
  • Operational range: 560 km or 250 km (export version)
  • Flight height: 30-40 м
  • Maximum speed: 1,000 km/h, Mach 0.8-0.95 (depending on altitude)
  • Guidance system: inertial, GPS and TERPROM, terminal stage – infrared homing head, DSMAC
  • Platforms: Eurofighter Typhoon, Panavia Tornado, Dassault Mirage 2000, Dassault Rafale

Storm Shadow

Will Storm Shadow cruise missiles take out SCALP from Russians?

Of course, most readers are interested in the question: “What aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force will be capable of launching the Storm Shadow cruise missile?” The Ukrainian Air Force can use the Su-24M frontline bomber as a carrier aircraft for the Storm Shadow cruise missile. Earlier, Poland has already promised to adapt Ukrainian aircraft of this type for the combat use of this missile as soon as possible.

Storm Shadow

In addition, Eastern European NATO countries have provided Ukraine with several dozen MiG-29 frontline fighters upgraded for the combat use of Western air defence systems, including cruise missiles. So our Air Force is not likely to have any major difficulties with carriers. Of course, we would like to get the aircraft from the list above.

Now about the targets of cruise missiles. The intended targets for Storm Shadow are command posts, communication hubs, ammunition depots, ships at anchorages, and infrastructure facilities (bridge crossings, railway junctions, unloading stations).


The highest priority target for cruise missile strikes is undoubtedly the Crimean bridge. There is every reason to believe that it is this bridge that the Ukrainian Armed Forces may strike first and most powerfully in the first hours of the upcoming offensive, with the aim of completely destroying it.


It should be borne in mind that the Crimean Bridge is not only strategically important for Russian logistics, but also of crucial moral and psychological importance for the broadest masses of the Russian population. It is for these reasons that it is number one on the list of targets for fire defeat by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Now, in the face of fierce fighting with the invaders, every precision-guided missile, every combat vehicle, every air defence system, every cruise missile is extremely necessary for us, so I would like to sincerely thank our Western friends and partners for their help and support. The invaders will not escape from retribution. Glory to Ukraine! Death to the enemies! Glory to the Armed Forces of Ukraine!

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Yuri Svitlyk
Yuri Svitlyk
Son of the Carpathian Mountains, unrecognized genius of mathematics, Microsoft "lawyer", practical altruist, levopravosek
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